Celebrating the launch of its latest overseas plant in India, Kia Motors said Thursday it will expand its portfolio of “Made-in-India” products next year and introduce fully digitalized sales and service channels for customers.
The South Korean auto giant officially opened its new production facility in Anantapur district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, built with an investment of $1.1 billion. It started operations in July rolling out the Seltos compact SUV, the company’s first vehicle to be made in the world’s fourth-largest market.
Robots operate for automated manufacturing at Kia’s new plant in India (Kia)
The automaker plans to add multipurpose vehicles -- mini vans -- and a subcompact SUV to its production portfolio next year. Production of hybrid and electric cars is also under consideration at the plant which has a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year, the company said.
“Now with full-fledged operations, our new plant allows us to serve the growing Indian market, and export models like the Seltos across the world. In the long-term, it will also become a vital part of our global production network,” said Kia Motors President and CEO Park Han-woo, at the opening ceremony.
In August, Kia launched the Seltos, a compact SUV strategically designed and marketed for the Indian market. As of November, three months after its debut, a total of 40,649 units were sold, raising the carmaker’s profile as the fourth-largest carmaker in India.
In an effort to establish the brand’s reputation as a tech innovator, Kia has introduced a digital sales platform and 24-hour real-time mobile service for vehicle maintenance, including service reservation, vehicle diagnosis and payment. As part of its digitalization strategy, the company said it also plans to unveil new features in its vehicles, including next-generation e-Call telematics, advanced GPS and navigation system, remote ignition, real-time traffic monitoring, and a range of comfort-oriented features.
Expanding its presence in the field of mobility services, Kia has joined hands with local ride-hailing service provider Ola with a strategic investment of $60 million and partnered with Revv, the car-sharing service leader in India, to introduce an integrated fleet solution of vehicle supplies and maintenance.
Built on a 2.16-square-kilometer land, the production site houses stamping, welding, painting and assembly and has more than 450 robots for partial automation of the manufacturing process.
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com